Douglas Corleone is a former New York City criminal defense attorney. He now resides on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Doug is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime novels set in Honolulu. His debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE was a finalist for the 2010 Shamus Award for Best First Novel and won the 2009 Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. Douglas’ third novel LAST LAWYER STANDING will be released tomorrow.
Some of you may remember that in late July, I went on vacation to Hawaii. During the leg of the trip where we went to Honolulu, I stalked Douglas. Mercilessly. He changed his phone numbers. I hacked them. He issued a Cease and Desist order. Like that would ever work! He tried wearing disguises. Seriously, Doug? A blond dreads wig? Eventually, he gave up and agreed to include Straight From Hel on his final day of touring before the debut of Last Lawyer Standing.
Please welcome Douglas Corleone.
All right, so it’s not really a fight. Not even an argument. More like a team sport in which there’s no other team. We’re all on the same side. We all want to put out the best book possible, and we all want a title that will hook readers, that will get them to pick up the book and read the gripping dust jacket copy and ultimately make the purchase. We all want readers – authors and publishers alike.
What many readers and aspiring writers don’t know is that the title the author places on his final manuscript isn’t always the title you ultimately see on store shelves. In fact, in my experience it’s pretty rare. For me, putting together 80,000 words of compelling prose is easier than thinking up one to three words that will make book browsers go, Mmmm.
Don’t get me wrong – so far, all three books I have had published bear titles that I’ve thought up. But two of the three are titles that were thought up well after I’d written The End. And the other was a title that had essentially been pre-approved by my editor.
Well after John Grisham was a bestseller, his publisher rereleased his debut novel A TIME TO KILL with a forward from the author that revealed two interesting things – one, that Grisham had to sell copies of his first book out of the trunk of his car, and two, that A TIME TO KILL was originally titled DEATHKNELL.
Why? Because John’s publisher didn’t think DEATHKNELL was a very compelling title for a legal thriller. I think they were probably right.
There’s no question that my publisher was right about my first novel. ONE MAN’S PARADISE was originally titled HULA ME ONCE. While writing the book, I was aiming for something fresh and funny, a story that would ultimately wear a colorful dust jacket and bear a clever title. I was shooting for something along the lines of Bob Morris’s second mystery, JAMAICA ME DEAD. But, at least with respect to the title, I missed.
I know some authors who will put up a fight for a title they love. For now at least, given the fact that my books consistently wind up with better titles after several brainstorming sessions with my agent and editor, I’m of the thinking that Publisher Knows Best. That’s why a manuscript that was submitted with the generic title CHOICE OF EVILS is being released as LAST LAWYER STANDING this month. And why I’m not entirely sure of what the title of next year’s international thriller will be.
I am, however, sure of a few titles that you won’t be seeing next to my name in 2013.
Thank you, Doug.
Tomorrow, you'll be able to find Douglas' latest book, Last Lawyer Standing, everywhere: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, the iBookstore, IndieBound, and other places.
Okay, I was kidding about the Cease and Desist order. But…how do you like the picture I got of him? See that beach in the background? Look close. You'll see me. But I won't tell you where he lives. I'm sworn to secrecy. No, really, the judge made me swear.
Disclaimer: I'm kidding!
Leave a comment for Douglas. Give him a shout-out. Buy his books. Or just tell him to drop the restraining order against me.